My Big Fat Greek Family Part 1: The Baba

My Big Fat Greek Family Part 1: The Baba

Many of my Greek posts have been littered with stories of my mad, moussaka-eating, lamb-roasting, all singing, all dancing, Greek family.

Seeing as the majority of the time I delight in taking the mickey out of them, it seems only fair to tell their side of the story.

This week I shall start with the Head of the Household, the King of the Red Apes, the DIY Master, the Greatest of all Greeks: MY BABA aka Dimitrios Botzios.

My father is the youngest of two sons, born in ancient Greek times on the 9th February BC in Igoumenitsa, to my grandmother Ekaterina, and my grandfather Vasillios.

At the age of six, he moved with the family to Germany where they lived for the next twelve years before returning to Greece and starting a new chapter in Athens.

My father trained and worked as a car mechanic before taking over a jewellery shop owned by an uncle, in the heart of Monastiraki. It was there that he met my mother a few years later, swooping down on her like a bird of prey when she happened to look through the window of his shop.

Less than a year later they were married and then moved to England where my father started up his own business importing Greek goods (I used to tell people he imported Greek slaves), and not long after came the pitter patter of my feet and then my sister’s feet, and a few years later my brother’s hooves.

And here we are.

Charming, multi-lingual, well read, cultured, good with numbers, bad-tempered, hairy, belligerent and very Greek, my father is one of those people who you meet and never forget.

He often regales us with tales of his childhood and how he grew up with no toilet paper. I find this admission very hard to believe. For a man who is so accustomed to apparently using leaves, he is ridiculously fussy about the quality of our bog roll.

His other stories invariably involve snowy mountains and/or wolves. My father is a big fan of snow, unless he is driving in it, in which case he curses the Gods for tormenting him so.

In fact, his love of snow is so great, that he will actually watch a film just because it has snow in it. When the movie The Grey came out, which featured snow AND wolves, he was beside himself with excitement.

Other favourite pastimes include looking for his vest (read about it here), educating non-Greeks about the Greeks (here) and morphing into the Red Ape (here).

An accomplished and talented singer, my father recorded several Greek and English tracks in his heyday, and at one point was likened to the great Demis Roussos (in voice, not in size).

He has even appeared in a few films after chaperoning me to a film set and being asked on the spot if he wouldn’t mind filling in for one of the roles. The bow master on the set of Ridley Scott‘s Robin Hood was so impressed by my father’s archery skills that apparently he considered using him as Russell Crowe’s archer-double.

Starring as an archer in Robin Hood

Starring as an archer in Robin Hood

It wouldn’t surprise me if Dimitrios Botzios landed a starring role in a Hollywood movie very soon.

As well as acting and singing, he also excels in the art of Greek dancing, often entertaining audiences in traditional Greek dress, with a cigarette hanging from his mouth.

The art of dancing while smoking

The art of dancing while smoking

It seems that everybody knows my father. I have even received messages on my blog and twitter page from people who have been blessed with the pleasure of meeting him and who want to pass on their regards.

A true Spartan through and through, my father was surely a great warrior in his past life (or an angry ape) and will protect his family no matter what. But beneath the hard Grecian armour lies a sensitive soul who cried at the opening scenes of Pixar’s Up and when tennis wildcard Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon.

Stubborn, headstrong and a little bit mad, in many ways, I am quite similar to my father (aside from the gappy teeth) but there is only one Dimitrios Botzios, and he is coming to a cinema near you.

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14 Comments

  1. 15th June 2014 / 2:12 pm

    I love this! Your father sounds a bit like my father …

  2. 25th April 2013 / 3:02 pm

    Lovely pictures Ekaterina, they all remind me of old Greek movies… Beautiful! Beautiful pictures for a beautiful family. Your daddy is precious!

  3. 23rd April 2013 / 11:51 am

    A delightful read Ekaterina! It was really touching and interesting to read about your Dad! Surprisingly ,WE in India too call our dad” Baba”..cultures connect! Like every strong and sensitive DAd ,I loved to know about him as if I was reading a new tale of my own father. You are lucky and so is he to have to you!

    • 23rd April 2013 / 11:55 am

      Thanks Soumya! Yes I repeatedly tell him how lucky he is! tee hee

  4. 22nd April 2013 / 12:27 pm

    I love your posts Ekaterina! This was no exception…… what a wonderful tale… and, I both laughed and nearly, nearly, had a tear – picturing you Dad crying over Pixar’s Up… Oh, just keep up the fun reads….. love your work. xx JCD.

  5. 22nd April 2013 / 12:21 pm

    Wonderful! I love him (and he is blessed to have a daughter like you). He is the type of man who would walk through fire for a friend. One of the warmest and most charismatic people I have ever met.

    • 22nd April 2013 / 12:24 pm

      Are we talking about the same man Andre?? Haha! I shall be sure to pass on your comments 🙂

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